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How Soda Fountains Work

By: Dave Roos

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Author's Note: How Soda Fountains Work

When I was in college, there was an old-fashioned drug store on the main drag in town that had been in continuous operation since 1922. By the time we arrived in the 1990s, the place was a shadow of its former glory, mostly dispensing prescriptions selling orthopedic shoes for local folks old enough to remember the scene at the now empty soda fountain. The only thing they still served up was a mean chocolate milkshake made with whole milk and generous scoops of ice cream. As tasty as it was, it made me lament growing up in an era when the soda fountain had been stomped nearly to extinction by fast-food chains and premade treats. I'm excited to see the resurgence of classic soda fountains all across America, and particularly the pride these new establishments take in their homemade, often artisanal ingredients and methods. Maybe it's time to get out and try one of those mysterious egg creams.

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More Great Links

  • America's Test Kitchen. "The Science of Good Cooking: Bubbles in Beverages." (April 2, 2015)
  • Carbonics, Inc. "Frequently Asked Questions About Beverage Equipment." (April 2, 2015)
  • Cooper Funderberg, Ann. "Sundae Best: A History of Soda Fountains." Popular Press, 2002 (April 2, 2015)
  • Discovery. "How a Soda Fountain Works." (April 2, 2015)
  • Moskin, Julia. "For soda, the genie is out of the bottle." The New York Times. July 5, 2011 (April 15, 2015).
  • Oatman-Stanford, Hunter. "Medicinal Soft Drinks and Coca-Cola Fiends." Collectors Weekly. April 10, 2014 (April 2, 2015)
  • QDrinks. "The Sweetest Place in Town." (April 2, 2015)
  • Yates, Donald. "John Matthews Father of the Soda Fountain." Bottles and Extras. Summer 2006 (April 2, 2015)